Wednesday, May 30, 2012


The dogs are adjusting well to life in New England. Our friends house has a big grassy yard and a pool, which is a huge improvement from our tiny yard and very few swimming options. Between our two families, all of our faster competition dogs are jumping 10" in flyball, so we've been doing power jumping in the yard and then swimming to cool off and get more exercise. We also do some hikes and chuck-it sessions.

We took our three dogs to a chiropractor today that knows sport dogs. She was really great compared to our other experiences. I've always thought Indigo didn't seem right, but when I've taken her for adjustments they always look at me like I'm crazy. That's because the sport dog and pet dog are way different. Our three dogs were all off. Indigo's pelvis was crooked, Goose's head/neck was off and Pax's whole left side needed work.

We had a tournament two weeks ago in Seekonk, MA. Our Division 1 team didn't have much competition, which sucks. I'd rather lose to good competition than win easily. It was actually a good thing though because Goose's ball spitting problem got a lot worse. He spit the ball in almost every race. We had to pull him a lot and use Pax and Mustang, both running full time on the multi-team. We won multi and regular, but really need to fix Goose's little problem quickly.

We came up with a fun game to work on ball spitting - We set up powerjumps and then send Goose back and forth between us, but he has a carry a ball over all the jumps and then as a reward he gets to play ball. We've also been using the outdoor jumps to work on Pax's speed to to the box (my on-going challenge). I have Ben start him like he's sending him for a full run, but instead of a box at the end of the's me with a chuck-it. As soon as Ben releases him I throw the chuck-it. Wow! He can run fast for a moving ball. The jumps barely interfere with his full speed running.

Otherwise the dogs are doing well. I'm experimenting with Pax's food to see if he has a food allergy because it's not normal for a dog to have such nasty gas. Right now he's on Lamb only. Also the ticks are awful here. I'm getting used to pulling them off the dogs on a daily basis. If we go into the woods it's pretty much guaranteed that they'll all have several ticks.

We have ANOTHER tournament this weekend and then next weekend too! This weekend is Navon, Ontario. We are leaving tomorrow night and driving to the Albany area so that we don't have to do eight hours all in one day. It's U-FLI and we are running two teams and lots of singles and we'll have Fin with us.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Big Changes

A lot has happened in the past few weeks. We left our house in Seattle on April 20th and took two vehicles across the country. Ben drove the truck and trailer (our temporary home) and I drove the little car. When we got to Reno, we traded cars with Ben's parents and ended up with a Ford Escape. It's not quite big enough for our family, but the dogs have a lot more room in the back and it's 4WD.

We stopped at dog parks and rest areas along the way to run the dogs. We had some long days, but everything went smoothly overall. We found a flyball tournament in Iowa to run with some friends and give the dogs a chance to stretch their legs. Indigo and Goose ran very well on their pick-up teams. Pax ran in singles and on a team, with the highlight being a doubles run with Indigo of 7.641. This makes them the 21st fastest doubles of all time and 6th for the year. Pax and Goose both ran singles as well. With Pax's best time being 3.820 and Goose 3.810, making them the 6th and 7th fastest singles for the year. We are planning another U-FLI tournament in June in Ontario and then the Tournament of Champions in August in Nebraska.

To continue our really crazy flyball schedule, we got to Massachusetts on May 3rd and then our new flyball team, Canine Mutiny hosted a tournament in Greenfield, MA. Indigo and Goose are on the Regular 1 team in 3rd and 4th position and Pax runs in start on the Multibreed team. The regular team had a best time of 15.8 and the Multi team ran in the mid 17 second range.  Running on consistent 4 dog teams is new for us and really nice. It was a little bit chaotic to get here and then immediately host a tournament, but it was pretty low key and it was easy to take our trailer because it was already packed with all our stuff.  It was all fun and games until a Norovirus type "stomach flu" passed around to at least 14 people including me. I showed my dedication by running Indy and then immediately going back to the trailer where the bathroom was close. Ben ran Pax for me and I may have lost my dog after that because Ben had a good time with him and was way better at getting the tug back from him!

Here is our schedule for the rest of the summer:

May 13th - ASFA lure coursing trial Granville, MA
May 19th-20th NAFA flyball Seekonk, MA
June 2-3 U-FLI Ontario
June 9-10 NAFA flyball Littleton, MA
June 23-24 Coconut Classic PA
July 21-22 NAFA flyball Foxboro, MA
August 11-12 NAFA flyball Henrietta, NY
August 24-26th U-FLI Tournament of Champions Nebraska
September 1-2 NAFA flyball Foxboro, MA
September 6-7th ASFA lure coursing Griswold, CT
September 22-23 NAFA flyball Greenfield, MA?
October 12-14th Can-Am NAFA flyball nationals

I also need to find some straight and oval track races for Pax, but our schedule is looking very full this year!

The dogs are very much enjoying their new location! We either play chuck-it or go hiking everyday. Ben has even taken them on bike rides on the rail trail!

This post has already been very long, but I just wanted to add some training thoughts about Pax in flyball. He is a never ending challenge for me. My most recent thought is that he is thinking too much on the way down to the box and in general. When we play chuck-it and he is chasing the ball he runs with reckless abandon...that's what I'm looking for. Here are my ideas to fix this problem:

1. head to head racing with the lanes close together against a fast dog and start him after so he has to catch up.
2. chase recalls where he is chasing a dog that is faster than him
3. set up flyball jumps outside and have someone release him as if he is going down to the box, but instead of having a box there, someone will be there with a chuck-it and as he starts down the jumps throw it. This way he will get used to running full speed down the jumps. Eventually we'd fade the movement...not sure exactly how that would work.
4. Power jumping with someone on both sides of the jumps sending him back and forth.